Planning your Marketing Strategy
Developing a successful marketing strategy requires careful planning based on quality research. Much of that planning can and should happen before your product or service is ready for sale. Your marketing goal is to present your product or service in a way that will motivate as many customers as necessary to purchase it at a price that will meet your profit goals. Thorough planning will help you make effective marketing decisions and help you avoid costly mistakes. Consider the following market planning steps:
Analyze your market
Many tips and services are available to help you gather accurate and useful market intelligence that will allow you to identify your customers and their willingness to support you, gauge existing and potential competitors and forecast future trends and sales potential.
What information is already available? Examine industry sales records and trends, survey other companies in the industry, and analyze secondary research information related to your business, such as industry websites and publications or Statistics Canada publications.
What new information will be useful? Your primary research can be as simple as asking potential customers and suppliers what they think of your product/service or as complex as developing and implementing structured questionnaires, focus groups and test markets. Professional business consultants have the experience and technology to gather accurate market information.
Identify your target markets
Your business can not be all things to all people. Your chance of reaching your customers effectively will improve if you understand exactly who they are and what they like, want or need. Once you identify your key potential customers (market segment) you can begin to develop an effective marketing strategy focused on them.
Establish your market niche
You will want to distinguish your business from those already in the marketplace. Highlighting unique qualities or features that will give you an advantage over your competitors or attract attention from a greater number of potential customers may give you a valuable edge in the marketplace.
Develop your marketing mix
A marketing mix is a combination of product, place, price and promotion, sometimes called the four Ps of marketing. A successful marketing strategy will ensure you find the appropriate balance of each one of them.
- Product: It is important to identify the product or service your customers want most and provide it. Consider all aspects including quality, design, customer service and after-sales services such as warranty or follow-up care.
- Place: The key to achieving success is to place your product or service where your customer will find it. Your business location, storefront and layout; distribution network; and online services determine place just as your business or product location in a retail setting.
- Price: Establishing the right price requires finding the balance between asking the amount your customer is willing to pay for your product or service and generating the revenue you need to cover your cost and achieve your desired profit.
- Promotion: Any form of communication between your business and your customer which speaks to the benefits and value of your product is a method of promotion. Activities could include paid and unpaid advertising and social media, direct marketing, personal sales and promotional activities or events.
What marketing assistance is available?
If you are launching a food product, you can access in-depth food marketing expertise from Canada’s Smartest Kitchen.
The following funding is available to support you with early stage marketing activities: